You haven't had the full (Boston) Red Line experience until you've followed it all the way to Mattapan, one of its southern ends. To do this, you'll have to get off the train at Ashmont and board a rickety green line-type trolley. There are six stops between Ashmont and Mattapan:

  • Cedar Grove
  • Butler
  • Milton
  • Central Ave
  • Valley Rd
  • Capen St

The whole trip is only 2.2 miles, but it seems longer than that because the trolley stops so frequently. It's easily the most scenic part of the Red Line, winding along the Neponset River at the edge of the city. It goes through the middle of a cemetery, and past the old Baker's Chocolate factory.

I grew up in Milton, and Mattapan was the closest stop to my house. I used to take my brother, twelve years younger than me, into the city sometimes on weekends. He loved trains, and I was always happy to get away from Milton. Mattapan, decrepit as it was, seemed like the gate to the ultimate playground.